March 26, 2013

SLJ Battle of the (Kids') Books, Week 3

I missed last week due to a vacation, but there are THINGS To Say this week. And since I'm home, I can say them.

Round 2, Match 1 (last week, I know): Bomb vs. Code Name Verity
Leave it to Donna Jo Napoli to make the tough decisions. What she said about Bomb (if you haven't read this, you need to. Now. It has the potential to win this thing.):
"It deftly weaves together the individuals, giving their backgrounds and the relevant factors that led them to be willing to join the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in New Mexico – the secret enclave where the bomb was developed.  We come to understand why some of those men betrayed the United States by giving information to the Soviets; they feared that the bomb’s being in the hands of only one nation would lead to too much of an imbalance of power, and they admired the philosophy (if not the actuality) of communism."
And what she said about Code Name Verity (I was trying to explain to my friend that THIS is the magic of the book, as she abandoned it halfway, skipping to the end):
"So many things we learn in the first part of the book are revealed as false in the second part.  But we don’t feel tricked, because the author gets us so deeply inside Julie that the revelations only make us say, “Of course.”  This is the mark of a master story-teller.  I couldn’t put this book down."
Which did she choose? Bomb. Do I agree? Well... much like Liz, I was heartbroken with the loss of my beloved Code Name Verity. But I agree with Napoli: Bomb is an important book, and because of that, I'm glad it's moving on.

Round 2, Match 2: Endangered vs. The Fault in Our Stars
What judge Martine Leavitt had to say about Endangered (and why I REALLY need to read it!):
"You like adventure stories? Animal stories? War/dystopian stories? This book has it all. Sophie survives in the sanctuary with the bonobos for several weeks until she is no longer safe there. She begins a journey through the Congo to find her mother at the site where the bonobos are released into the wild. There are a lot of guns in the book. There are lots of bugs in this book. Deliciously horrible. You are never allowed to stop worrying about Otto. You are never allowed to stop loving him. You are never allowed to put the book down."
 And about TFiOS:
"Somehow John Green writes the most romantic romance-story-that-is-not-a-romance-story ever."
 Her decision? TFiOS. Of course. (I liked this quote: "The fault in the stars of Eliot Schrefer is that his book came up against The Fault in Our Stars. I wouldn’t want my book to come up against a John Green book in a dark alley.") And of course, I agree.

I think the match between these two is going to be the toughest to call. But I'm going to go with TFiOS to head into the final.

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